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Us 13, Madam 5, The Navy 5, Ma 4, Ruth Moore 3, United States 3, Gramm 3, Bhagwati 2, United States Air Force 2, America 2, Mr. Taylor 2, Graham 2, Pentagon 2, Navy 2, Levin 2, Mavis 2, Va 2, United States Navy 1, Sbc 1, Madame 1,
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  CSPAN    U.S. Senate    News/Business.  

    March 15, 2013
    5:00 - 7:00pm EDT  

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>> antimissile. i do want to say that i spent a number of hours spent an amazing professional prosecutors in the area of sexual a salt at the pentagon on monday and i do feel there is some progress being made in some branches, some more than others, recognizing that they have failed at getting after this and doing what our military usually does best, which is focused on a mission and make it happen. ..
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not just women but men. senator mccaskill said and miss bhagwati you said in your testimony, i think it's important to start with the fact that rape and sexual assault are not about sexual activity. they are about power, control, and intimidation, and i think that is an issue that has taken a long time for the civilian world to appreciate. i was on the commission on the status of women in new hampshire in 1980, when we were working with law enforcement and other
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advocates to try to get across that point, and clearly it's still an issue. it's still something that not everyone understands particularly people who have not been in your situation. i was amazed to see that in your statistics that they brought forward, one in three convicted sex offenders remain in the military, and that the only branch of the service that says they danger -- discharge all sex offenders is the navy. it seems to me that's a pretty basic bar we should think about as we look at people who have been convicted of rape and sexual assault. miss bhagwati, we hear there's a connection between resistance to pursue sexual crimes and careerism among military
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officers, there's concern for the reputation of the accused and the commanding officer. those concerns have been presented as reasons to frustrate the efforts to bring criminals to justice. so i wonder if you could talk more, you've made several recommendations in your testimony. how can we more effectively show that covering up sexual crimes is not a way to advance careers? >> i'll go back to what i think some of my colleagues here were talking about. when these crimes happen and, you know, in my case, i was a junior officer reporting these crimes to senior officers. it was, you know, sort of thinking back 20/20 as rebekah
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said on, those experiences, i had so much more rank and authority than the average servicemember navigating these issues by far. so much more freedom of movement. there's something that i think happens beyond the company grade level with officers who definitely are staying in for the full twenty years or more. i was actually -- it was suggested to me by an equal opportunity officer i should charge my battalion commander for failure to do the right thing in the cases. which was absolutely overwhelming perspective. it shut me down completely. here i was a captain; right. i couldn't even fathom what it was like for somebody e2 or e 3-rbgs going through the same thing. i couldn't do it because -- i was literally the thought of doing it made me dysfunctional. i couldn't -- i had command.
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i had to command my company, and to do that in addition to filing an equal opportunity investigation against a lieutenant, it was just overwhelming. , youyou know, the old boy's club when i was referring to is very much alive and well within each service branch. i think the fact that for women in the military, there are still significant barriers to career presentation and there are not enough women throughout the services at top levels. there aren't enough flag officers who are women. all of this is related, ultimately. we need to see change in which so many more women are entering the military and 6 to 7% of the marines are not female but moving forward a quarter or a third and maybe even more eventually. we see it at that rate beyond
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20% where climates start to shift when it comes to discrimination. that's what we need to aim for. you can't isolate women from all of these positions and expect your institution to treat servicemembers fairly. everyone suffers as a result. >> and does swan have metrics that show overall career impact to servicemembers who have been subjected to sexual assault? how many of those who report assault choose to remain in the military, and how many get out because of the trauma they've experienced? are those numbers that have been collected? >> not my knowledge. we have been in discussions with several congressional office the about discussing the retention issue alone. to my knowledge, the military is not yet at least suffering or
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recruitment crisis when it comes to, you know, more americans learning about sexual violence in the rank. we're examples of the retention crisis. there are thousands of our colleagues every year who are add together numbers. they know it's not safe or welcoming environment for them to stay in. >> absolutely. as the percentage of women in the military is now close to 15%. it's not reached the critical mass where it will hopefully begin to have more of an impact on how sexual assaulted is treated. it could become an issue of recruitment. as we look at how we attract the best and brightest people to the military, obviously, it's an issue when it comes to both women and men that it's going to greatly affect our ability to do that. thank you all for much for your testimony.
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>> thank you, ma'am chairman. thank you to our witnesses for joining us. on the issue of culture, which keeps coming back. i lived through a period of change in this country of culture that was very significant, and it was the culture of drunk driving. when i was a kid, it was sort of badge of honor, how did you get home from the bar? i don't remember. hahaha, that really changed. i tried to think through where it changed. one reasons was the laws changed. punishment became immediate and certain. in maine, anyway if you're caught drunk driving you're going spend a weekend in jail. period, and you'll lose your license for a period of time. it's very certain, no doubt about it. so i think part of what the message you're sending us is it's the length of time and the uncertainty of punishment that allowed the culture to continue to exist in the military. would you agree with that?
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>> yes, senator, i would. absolutely. it's unconscienceble that punishment is solely up to the discretion of one individual who as noted was not even in courtroom. it's unconscionable that a sexual assault on a person brings a year in prison. it's sending the wrong mess thaj the military does not value what is happening. what happened to the victims. >> what is the typical lapse of time between the time a charge is filed and a time charge is disposed of one way or the other within the military system? is there an average. weeks, months, years? >> that, i'm not certain of that. i imagine that the military panel would be able to address
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that far better than i would. but i can get back to you on that, senator. >> other thoughts, miss mccoy? >> i would like to say, i received more rip are punishment for not passing a pt test than aer. trairt -- so there is . >> what does that tell you? >> that's what i'm saying. there is no standardized, if you assault someone, if you sexually harass, these are the things that will happen to you in an absolute and finite way. it absolutely depends on the command. it depend on the individual within the command, and what their relationship is with the commander, and the people who are going possibly move that
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case forward. >> we've been talking about various solution involving independent prosecution and those things. it seems to be one other thing we must talk about is a period of time. charges shall be considered within thirty days and some period. and the schedule of what the penalties are. so there is certainty. to me, that's what lead to the change of the culture of drunk driving. people understood there was consequences, and then it became socially unacceptable, and now it's drunk driving is way down. a lot of lives are being saved. >> again, in my particular case, i was system atically exited from the military following my bringing forward this case of sexual harassment, and just purely asking for something to be done within ninety days i was out of the military completely. >> i want to follow up with you on a different question not
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strictly within the purview of the committee. it's being hered here at the -- considered here at the capitol. how long it took you to get va benefits. [laughter] after this because as you know, there's a bill the ruth moore bill named after a wonderful woman. that tock me about your experience on that on the va side. >> well, when i got out on my documentation, my medical exam, i specifically stated that i was scared that i was fearful, and that i had physical injuries, you know, multiple physical injuries. it took probably two years for them to finally get me processed and send me a document stating that i had a zero -- my injuries were service connected, but there was zero percent compensation. that was in 1992.
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so from 1992 bsh because i didn't understand the process. there was really no one there to guide me. >> that's a separate issue. >> yeah. there's bso there going to the va at that time. i was in north carolina, it was a daunting experience to walk in as a young woman and amid nothing but older male veterans and try to go through the process. fast forward to 2006, 2007, somewhere in there when i went again and put in paperwork again for multiple medical issues hasn't even touched on military sexual trauma. i didn't know there was anything like that at that time. they sent me paperwork back, process, process, 10%, again. it was just a constant, constant . >> we're talking almost twenty years. >> it was twenty two years before i actually received some response to the military sexual
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trauma portion of the case. my benefits, and again, another eighteen years before the physical injuries that i sustained because of partially because of the sexual trauma and partially because of patrol, you know, being out on patrol. but it's amazing to me that one in three military sexual trauma cases are awarded. i mean, one in three. you have to go through this long process of filing paperwork, explaining to people exactly what happened to you step by step, and then get a doctor's note from the va, and most veteran women are not even in the va system, they don't want to even touch it. so you to go through the process to even get them to look at the case to be approved for the benefits, you know, for compensation. >> so our country is letting you down in three places. first by the pepperer.
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trairt, second -- it's awful. >> miss bhagwati, comments on the ruth moore act. >> yes, thank you senator king for mentioning the ruth moore act. it's in my testimony as well. i didn't have time to add that, but it's the easiest thing that the senate can do at this point to alleviate the third betrayal of the three betrayal you outline which is the military may have betrayed servicemembers but the va can very easily award compensation, which is well deserved the standard for which the ruth moore act lays out is standard to post-traumatic stress disorder for combat-related drama. and the legislation would easily resolve the problem. >> thank you. thank you, ma'am chairman.
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>> to the witnesses, i appreciate your testimony, i apologize for stepping out for another committee meeting in the middle. i hope we don't repeat questions. it's an important hearing. i thank the chairwoman for putting this up to draw attention to the issue. i was a civil rights lawyer before i got statewide politics, this is a fundamental issue of civil and human rights. we need to get it right. the experience you shared painful experiences is going to help others, let me begin by thanking you, and thanking you additionally for being advocates for others, as i know you are. you present sort of ab interesting time line for us, because we have the four of you from different service branches. you served at different points in time through the '80s through recently. and in your capacity as advocate you are working for people who serving today. i feel like we can get aability little bit of a timeline of the
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military culture. where i would like to start is are things changing. if your own experiences or the work you're doing with victims, are things changing? are things changing for the good or things changes for the bad or people already -- more willing to open up and share their experience. i'm interested in hearing each of you address that. to the extend that chicagos are change -- changing for the positive. we want do more of them. to the extend that changes for the negative we want to address solutions directlied at things that are changing for the negative. so sort of in your own experiences, during the time you served but especially as advocates do you see changes in the culture, steps being taken that are either moving us in the right direction or the wrong direction? >> well, from my perspective, i come to this -- i started a social media project that basically i just wanted to connect with other people who had been through the same things i had been through, and so i
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perceived that social media and grassroots community activism has been the single most -- it being that brought people together, helped solidify the group of different vary issues and. let work together to get something done in a positive direction. what i . >> and when did you start the social media activity? >> i started on -- i had a site called veteran social justice. initially it was very secret. you couldn't get on unless you were invited. it was to protect women who had been sexually assaulted, and at that time, people did not want to come forward and say anything, but then i felt that facebook would be a better venue to move forward to gather more people together bring the community together, the community supporters together,
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the people who were starting organizations who were advocating on behalf of the veterans. so it just made sense to me. if everyone was on facebook, then everyone was on facebook. so i think that . >> your sense is that's been a positive change because it gives people first a safe way to share their stories, and find out there are others who have the stories. it's a way to build the community. >> for peer support and suicide prevention. absolutely. >> how about other thoughts about changes for positive or negative? >> thank you, sir. i managed a help line for 18 months. and i noticed a lot of interesting trends and dynamic as i started tracking. a lot of the demographic data, and one of the things that really has made a huge impact over the last two years is the constant media attention around the issues. the more education and awareness that the general population
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gets, or even other veterans and survivors get, there's -- again, it goes to the social media aspect, but the concept that we as survivors are not alone with our shame or stigma, whatever label we choose to put on our experiences, and swan did a summit last year in d.c., and we had one woman who came and she told us she's, like, i have never met another survivor before, ever. i didn't know that other women and other men had even gone through this. i was completely by myself. and alone with my own experiences. so, you know, unfortunately, you know, our helpline is set up to help people who have been through the things, so obviously we gate lot of negative. we get a lot of people who had experiences these dray tray -- trauma who need help with the mental health, va claims benefits. one of the other things that is interesting i gate lot of older clients, a lot of older women
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who served in vietnam and starting to speak out about their experiences and there has been a shift in momentum over the last two years. there has been a shift forward. there has been baby steps made through legislation and the ndaa. there has been some positive progress, and that's whey kind of try to hold on to. and at the same time we are still dealing with a lot of individuals. i get calls from active duty women and e-mails from active duty men who are going through the things every day. i get calls from korea, germany, japan, and from everywhere in the united states. you know, the climate is still very much the same in a negative capacity. there is still -- we won't be having the hearing if it still wasn't a problem. i think we need to recognize the problems and we are. and we need don't make more progress. don't educate the public.
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don't educate -- continue to educate our military. continue to take the steps we have made already and continue on the path that we have already started on. and we'll continue to see more positives. we'll continue to see hopefully less of these occur. and see the culture shift we have been discuss soggy far. . -- so far. thank you, senator. the unfortunate reality is that the department is not leading the charge on the change you're mentioning. the change has been connelling externally -- coming externally. one senator mentioned the invisible war as an agent for change. this summer another documentary focusing on male survivors will be coming out, "justice denied." they have been agents for change. there have been veterans as a result of advocacy organizations
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going as far back as world war ii to talk about what happened to them in terms of military sexual trauma. you're right, we have a timeline here, senator. for my own personal knowledge it least goes back all the way to world war ii. in change, i think that a greater emphasis should come from the department of defense sexual assault prevention response office, the branches themselves need to be reaching out to the mst advocacy organizations and saying outexpertise, you have the survivors, what can you do to help us. time and again, the military has proven themselves of incapable of addressing this problem. i'll -- another avenue of change also has to come, as i said,
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that men need to be validated and lifted up. survivors in general need to be validated and lifted up and say we believe you, and there needs to be a system where by survivors that have been kicked out of in the last twenty, forty, fifty years, need to be able to go back to the military and get the ptsd -- with a bad piece of paper saying in essence they pushed me out. it's unconscionable. the change isn't happening. it needs to. >> did you have thoughts on the question? >> i would go with what my colleagues said. i would love to see the department of defense come without a poster that said don't rape. don't rape. period. end of story. >> thank you to seek of you for
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-- each of you for not only your courage but your determination and unbelievable passion. it makes a difference, and i'm sure for any survivor they can't imagine how such a horrible crime committed against them could ever make a difference, but because of your experience, you are making a difference. and i can tell you, we as senators cannot do this job alone without your stories, without your courage, without your dedication, we cannot find the right solutions. i'm grateful that many members of the armed services who are currently in command sat here for your testimony. they heard everything you said. and this is a beginning of a longer conversation. a conversation that we need have not just as a committee in the senate, but as a nation, and i want to thank you for your unbelievable strength and courage in leading that conversation. thank you very much.
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] coming up a panel of officials from nearly every branch of the military testifying before the senate armed service subcommittee. they answer questions about what they're doing about the issue and the case of a commander who dismissed the conviction. that's next.
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the conservative political action conference is holding the annual gathering this week here in washington. you can see the events covered jop line at c-span.org. national rifle association ceo wane will lapierre was one of the speakers. here's a little bit of what he had to say. >> and here's what the political -- a placebo called universal background checks. yep, that's the big idea. a background check. a check that will always be far from universal. we'll never make our schools or streets safer, and will only serve as universal registration of lawful american gun owners. [applause] the real goal, and you know it, flight your heart, it's the real goal they have been pushing for decades. criminals won't participate, and the record of the mentally ill
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will never ever be part of that check. with all the hipaa laws and patient privacy issues with the monsters in tucson, aurora, and newtown, those names will never be in the system. and those killers really are crazy. [applause] the very advocates and politicians behind the universal scheme have fought behind the scenes for two decades to prevent mental health records from being added to the check system. i've been in a bunch of back rooms and they walk in and say we can't do this. we can't do this. their check only includes good law-abiding people. it's going to be people like you and me. that's who they will be checking. ..
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that. >> the simple fact is that we
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are all getting over it together and we are not the same as our martelle rates have dropped and we're beginning to have an inverted pyramid that makes our challenges as it relates to entitlement and social security even greater. slow-growing developing countries have had for decades more fertility rates. japan and europe particularly in russia and now china is starting to feel the impact of its one child policy. we are better off the and the rest of the developed world but our fertility rate has dropped to below to breakeven to 1.8, the lowest trouble last three years and recorded history and unlike most of the world we have tried and true way to deal with this demographic time bomb. demography doesn't have to be destiny if you change course and the path that we could take is to allow for a strategic reform of our immigration law so that we can bring a young aspirations
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and new people will rebuild the demographic period to make over entitlement system secure and john jump-start our economy in a way that will create an uplifting of our hopes and dreams but also directly impact immediately impact of economic growth senior pentagon officials have reduced the review of military rules allow senior commanders to overturn sexual assault convictions by court-martial. they testified this week before the senate armed services subcommittee on personnel. the secretary if chuck hael ordn authority after the conviction. panelists were asked about the decision during this hearing. this is about two hours.
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>> or hearing subcommittee will resume. thank you each of you for your service and dedication and sacrifice that you have made for the country. i am so grateful that you are here today for this important hearing. i'm also incredibly grateful that many of you came this morning and participated and listened to the first to panels that means a great deal not just the witnesses but to their families and to all of our military families we appreciate it for a much. i know that this has become a very debated issue both within the military and everyday conversations. i also know many of you have seen the film as a sort of jumping off point on how important this issue is for our military and their families. i'm very eager to share your testimony and each of you will have five minutes to give an oral statement and you can submit for the record nem
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materials you would like to submit today and after your testimony. we are going to hear from robert taylor the acting general counsel of the department of defense, lieutenant general chatman, the judge advocate general of the united states army, the vice admiral advocate general of the united states navy, lieutenant general richard harding, the judge advocate general of the united states air force, maj general fond of the marine corps, major general gary patton, director of sexual assault prevention and response office, the rear admiral judge at general of the united states coast guard. thank you. i think that we can start. >> good afternoon madame chair gillibrand and members of the subcommittee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the coast guard efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault in our service and good afternoon to you, a ranking member gramm.
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i share the, on its commitment to the safety and well-being of each of our service members. ensuring the coast guard personnel have a collaborative cohesive work environment that allows them to accomplish their mission, protecting those on the sea, protecting americans from threats delivered by the sea and protecting the sea itself. eliminating incidents of sexual assault within the coast guard was a significant central theme of the, wants state of the coast guard address delivered three weeks ago. sexual assault is intolerable and the coast guard and its devastating to its victims and it has broad repercussions throughout the service we do everything we can to prevent sexual assault to investigating the obligation, to holding people accountable through military justice and other actions and to ensure victims of sexual assault were protected, treated with dignity and provide appropriate ongoing support.
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more detailed information is contained in my written testimony submitted for the record our obligations of serious sexual misconduct must be reported to the coast guard investigative service for investigation, the cgs has established a sex crime investigation program. it's also astana the paltrow of 22 specially trained and credentialed agents known as family and sexual violence investigators. we've been updated in the last year to more clearly defined roles and responsibilities. and it's significant education and training and insures the greater victim support and safety. in april 2011 device, on a chartered the task force to holistically examine the coast guard posture toward sexual assault prevention and response. the vice, not approves 39 recommendations from the task force in january including the establishment of sexual assault prevention council. it is a standing body of the
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most senior coast guard admiral and subject matter experts designed to among other things oversee the implementation of the task force recommendation to actionable course corrections to the coast guard staff of policy is needed. a device, on how the meeting of january 27th of this year and please important on the need to train the coast guard personnel to recognize and respond appropriately when they observed situations that involve disrespectful behavior out to prevent it and how to respond. since its inception the workshop provided training to the units and approximately 7500 coast guard personnel. this initiative received the department of homeland
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securities office of general counsel award for excellence in the training and 20 talf. it's the most meaningful effective training that we have ever received. the transitions are and have been incorporated into all command and leadership courses in the coast guard as well as the recruit training center and in new jersey and the coast guard academy in new london connecticut across the coast guard with nearly 400 dictum that gets added in the last few years. i am committed to enhancing the extra piece of coastguard lawyers serving as counsel and sexual assault cases. coastguard judge advocate serve in the navy and marine corps shops to gain experience the relatively small coast guard a trial docket with otherwise not allow. it advocates also attend advanced training to hone their litigation skills and assault cases. in closing, the goal is to eliminate sexual assault in the coast guard while building a
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strong cultural prevention, education and training, response capability, and dictum support, appropriate reporting procedures and accountability. the key for the opportunity to testify today and i am pleased to answer any questions that he may have. >> thank you. lieutenant general harding. >> madame chair and members of the committee i think you for the opportunity to speak today about sexual assault, prevention and response efforts in the air force. we are committed to supporting victims of sexual assault while we do everything humanly possible to eradicate this crime from our service. our secretary, the honorable michael donnelly and our chief of staff are fully committed to eliminating sexual assault in our ranks. it made their position abundantly clear. veazey littleness for this offense one sexual assault is one too many. we believe the sexual assault challenge like other challenges
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we have faced in the past and will face in the future will be overcome by state and routed to the core values, integrity, service and excellence and acting on both sides. we've actively engaged in improving our efforts to prevent and respond to sexual assault across many different lines of effort. while we have many ongoing efforts to combat sexual assault, time constraints will limit my comments to just one at this time. specifically i would like to talk about our special victims council program that we have initiated in january. i believe it represents a positive and profound change in the way that we approach sexual assault cases. the pilot program invites airmen that report that they are victims of sexual assault with an attorney to represent them. our special victims council program is unique among federal agencies and providing that level of support to victims of sexual assault. this pilot program's primary purpose is to give the very best
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care to our people. our special victims council operate independently of the prosecution's chain of command. they establish an attorney client relationship with victims' and represent on their clients' behalf thereby protecting victims' privacy and immeasurably helping victims not feel victimized by having to endure what can be complex, exhausting and often confusing criminal justice process. we are in the early stages of this program. but we are extremely excited about the future holds. in december we trained the first country of the 60 experienced military attorneys as special victims council. we are representing about 200 clients in various stages of the investigation and add adjudication phases. feedback from victims to date has been very positive.
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v sbc is the right thing to do and already making a difference for their clients. in closing high, the men and women that raise their hand with pride, a volunteer to serve the great nation became more than just airmen, they became part of their air force family, therefore we strongly believe we have a sacred obligation to provide a work environment that welcomes them. it keeps them free from sexual abuse by their fellow airmen and provides the very best care and advocacy on their behalf. i look forward to answering questions. thank you. the next speaker is lieutenant general chip. >> on behalf of john general braley -- retial no listening to the test this morning they break the trust law at the core of the
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army values how do we restore those bonds and retain the trust of the very best of america's daughters and sons? and those who continue to answer the call to serve the army because it defends all of us? for me, the answer lies with a system of justice. it gives a voice and supports victims, maintains good order and discipline for the force and protect due process for any soldier that stands accused of crime. sexual assault crimes destroy the trust that enables the mission accomplishment. because of the harsh reality of these cases, we have developed a tailored approach to handle them. in the army, professional and independent investigators and prosecutors form the vanguard for the special victims capability directed by the congress last year. we began the transformation to a special victims focus in 2008. the key to devotee starts with the report of a sexual assault.
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victims have various options to report and obligations. our goal assembled to encourage victims to come forward. we understand victims are often reluctant to report. ephriam restricted sexual assault obligation reaches the army's criminal instigation deficient or cid. the specially trained criminal investigators independent of the command pursue their investigations without interference or agenda. these agents received extensive training and sexual assault investigations. working hand-in-hand with these investigators are the armies of the special victims prosecutors. these experienced judge of the kids are seasoned trial lawyers and are trained specifically to focus on victim care. a complete the career prosecuted courses offered by the national district attorneys association and, job training with a civilian special victim unit in a large metropolitan city.
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in addition, both cid and the corps have hired civilian investigators and prosecutors to mentor, train and assist the special victims teams to these experts bring decades of experience and expertise from civilian police agencies other federal law enforcement agencies and others to district attorneys offices. the community's safety interest and the discipline of the door by holding offenders accountable. testimonials from victims and their families attest to the dedicated support these attorneys provide. such as that of the victim's mother who described the sep as a member that made her daughter feel more strong and capable than she knew she could feel. 11 years of the war reaffirm the commanders of a central role in administering military justice. in the same way that they are accountable for health, training, welfare, safety,
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morale, discipline, and mission readiness. a recent court-martial conviction set aside by the commander has focused concerned over the post trial role of the commander. should we evaluate the needed changes to the post trial role? absolutely. we collectively evaluate military justice, processes and procedures in an ongoing forum the joint service committee established by the defense department. moreover, we have congressionally mandated panels that could responsibly consider changes. these vehicles like this during our side with a healthy system of justice subject to scrutiny, transparency, and accountability. although the focus of your hearing today is the prosecution of these offenses. we cannot assume we can prosecute our way out of this problem. accountability remains critical. but real change will occur only when both prevention and response measures yield culture
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changes. so we began with every new recruit focusing on the army values and by standard intervention techniques. our system of justice is not perfect. no system is. we have worked and dramatic changes to the system over six consecutive legislative cycles. policy and a statutory changes over that purpose of our comprehensive. we make mistakes. every day in every jurisdiction around this country prosecutors make difficult decisions on cases. we are no different but my commitment to you is that we will do everything in our power to retain the trust of the men and women who serve our army and to preserve a system of justice of which we can be proud to be at thank you. i look forward to your questions. >> mr. keller? >> chairman john brandt, remember gramm and members. thank you.
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and members of the subcommittee thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. the department is determined to combat and prevent sexual assault in the military. the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect this country must be assured that they have the opportunity to serve without fear of sexual assault. sexual assault in the military is not only an up torrent crime committed as enormous harm to the victim, but it is also a very blunt the attack a on which that cushion depends tebeau we must combat discourage with all the resources at our disposal. the secretary has made it crystal clear to the senior military and civilian leadership of the department that combating this is a major priority for him and that he demands results. i watched the hearing this morning and i want to take this opportunity to think the witnesses for coming forward, and i believe that their
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testimony will contribute to making our military better. the department is in the process of implementing a multifaceted effort to address sexual assault in the military and the legal arena my office along with the judge advocate general and the joint service committee on military justice are working to improve the department's legal policies pertaining to sexual assault. these efforts are designed to make our judicial investigative and supported structures more efficient, effective and responsive to the rights and needs of the victims while preserving the rights of the accused. the department has recently authorized the united states air force to implement a pilot program that assigns special victims council to victims to report sexual assault. special victims council are experienced attorneys and the advocate on behalf of the victim to commanders, convening authorities, staff judge advocate's, trial counsel and to the extent authorized by the manual court-martial military
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judges. although the pilot has been operational for just six weeks, understand that numerous victims have already requested assistance. we need to evaluate the program's effectiveness and resolve questions concerning the proper role of the special victims council. in the military justice system which is critical to the expansion of the victims' rights does not have unintended consequences that could hinder the pursuit of justice. to that end, i tasked the joint service committee, military justice experts from across the department coastguard evaluating the program. a longstanding issue of concern is the significant role the commanders had in the administration of military justice generally, and specifically in the cases involving allegations of sexual assault. the recent action of the convening authority is disapprove of the findings and the sentence and just to dismiss the charges of sexual assault after a conviction by a court
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martial was underscored continuing concerns in the role of commanders. article 60 of the uniform code of military justice authorizes the convening authority in his or her discretion to modify the findings and the sentence of a court martial. over the years congress has reserved the central role of commanders. however the rolph commanders has been narrowed numerous times to provide protection for the accused so it would be a misreading of the history to put the role of the commander on the careful re-examination. we must strive for the military justice system that considers the evidence, respects the rights of the accused and victims alike, punishes the guilty and reinforce its military discipline. to be effective, members of the military must of confidence that the military justice system will treat both the accused and the fact, fairly.
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with that and why did the department has initiated a number of reviews to inform the congress and the secretary of defense regarding the advisability of additional changes to the administration of justice. specifically, secretary espy appointed me to make sure that the panel of experts examine the systems used to investigate, prosecute and add to the crimes involving military assault required by section 576 of last year's md eight considers the role of convening authorities in the military justice process including the authority to set aside the court-martials findings of guilt. the panel presents an excellent opportunity to solicit independent advice on the appropriate role of the convening authority in today's military justice system which includes robust rights of appeal. proceeding with care and listening to all of those affected by the military justice system and experts on the
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administrative justice under other systems will ensure the changes to the administration and military justice are constructive and avoid any and intended for precautions. but the care and caution must not be allowed to determine an excuse for inaction where the further action is needed. our men and women in uniform serve to protect us everyday. they put their lives on the line for this great country of ours. we owe them a military with sexual predators have no guard and sexual assault has no place. until all of the assault is eradicate it is our duty to ensure that the victim's find support and we have a special obligation to ensure the military justice system works effectively to provide justice in every case and to all involved. i look forward to your questions. thank you.
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>> vice admiral, thank you. >> good afternoon madame chair, ranking member, members of the subcommittee. thank you for this opportunity to appear before you this afternoon to address the commitment to fighting sexual assault and specifically about the navy's accountability initiative. please let me say up front this is not just a legal issue it is a leadership issue for every one of us and the recognition of this is the secretary of the navy the honorable ray mavis and jonathan implemented a multifaceted approach to combat sexual assault including country inns of training and awareness that emphasizes the active and involved leadership and by standard intervention. the navy is dedicated to ensuring the victims received the full spectrum and timely support to include treatment, counseling and legal assistance. and certainly listening to the members of the earlier panel who
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put a face and a voice to the sexual violence underscores the importance of the victim care to that end consistent with the 2012 lenni fi is hiring 66 civilian credentialed full-time sexual assault response coordinator and 66 full-time civilian credentialed victim advocates. they would augment the more than 3,000 active-duty command victim advocates and work with specially trained investigators and specially trained jagged corps officers for the victim to the devotee. the corps is intensely focused on upholding the special trust that is placed on us to provide a fair, effective and efficient military justice system. we've implemented several initiatives to ensure the clients both the government and accused receive the highest level of advocacy. in 2007 to improve the overall
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quality of the court martial litigation we established the military justice litigation career trap. the corps officers apply for the designation as military justice specialists or experts based on their litigation experience and aptitude. those selected for the designation lead the trial and defense department and provide proven experience in the courtroom personally conducting, overseeing borat adjudicating the complex case is to include sexual assault. this program leverages the trial counsel, defense council and judicial experience to enhance the effectiveness of the court-martial practice for complex cases. in 2010 we established the tribal council and defense counsel assistance programs, speed and dcap respectively. tcap is a training and prosecution process assessment worldwide. they've conducted all retraining to improve efforts between prosecutors, investigators and
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other military justice stickle first. the service trial counsel or assistant trial counsel and several complex cases to include sexual assault cases. the tcap deputy director his agf 15 former state prosecutor with extensive sexual assault prosecution experience. she previously served as a director of the national center for the prosecution of violence against women and she's and noted author and the field. dcap was established for the defense to provide technical expertise for the case collaboration and standardized resources for the defense counsel. the office needs training efforts and consults with detailed council through every state of the court-martial process worldwide. in 2012 we hired the highly qualified experts, one to work at the headquarters level and another to work in dcap. if you're telling significant sexual assault litigation experience and to enhance litigation skills and practices
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for prosecution and defense in the field. we are now in the process of hiring another highly qualified experts to work in the trial counsel assistance program. we provide are litigators with extensive trial advocacy training throughout the course of the couriers. in conjunction with our criminal justice division, our tcap and dcap coordinate specialized training on litigating complex sexual assault crimes and they leverage the knowledge from the civilian sector and the sister services through cross training. we sent currier litigators to the post graduate schools to receive master's and law degrees and trial of tickets. to further refine the complex litigation capability just last year the navy and establishes an externship program into the career offices to work in the sex crimes unit and a civilian prosecution offices one in california and one floor above fallujah is clear from these and
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other initiatives to your described more fully in the statement the secretary mavis and the entire leadership team remains steadfastly committed to getting in front of the problem and to eliminating sexual assault from our ranks. for our part, the court remains actively engaged in sexual assault awareness and prevention training, victor m. responsive and accountability initiatives. thank you again for this opportunity. and i look forward to taking your questions. islamic major general ari? >> german gillibrand, a ranking member gramm and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify here today. i must begin by assuring you that secretary amos continue to make the elimination of sexual assault a top priority in the department. within the marine corps or, on this personally leading this fight, not just in the words but
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through actions. in june, 2012, but issued a sexual assault prevention and response campaign plan. .. >> we are determined to eradicate sexual assault in the
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marine corps it is a personal thing to me. i would like to highlight the progress of the military's initiative to combat sexual assault. during the past two years there have been significant statutory and regulatory changes made to the military justice system that affect sexual assault prevention and response. as we implement these changes, we must carefully balance three main interests. the commanders inherent responsibility to maintain good discipline, the rights of the accused, and our fundamental obligation to care for victims. military personnel are uniquely balanced to ensure that we serve and protect each. i want to address the improvements were legal capabilities. in 2012, the commandant directory reorganized over 49
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different commands and over 800 legal groups. this established for regional legal support sessions designed to ensure that we have the right council with support staff on the right case regardless of location. each region has a regional capability. the centerpiece is composed of experienced senior prosecutors. these regional officers also contain criminal expertise and support. highly trained civilian prosecutors provide training and mentoring and advice on trial strategy and tactics to all military prosecutors in the region. all of these improvements protect victims interests while ensuring that due process rights
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guaranteed by the constitution are upheld. in addition to increasing dose to litigate the offenses, the commandant extended the secretary of defense's policy on the authority for the sexual offenses. to cover not only penetration offenses but all child sex offenses and intends to commit such offense. in essence we now have a smaller group of senior and experienced officers making this and any related misconduct. in addition, to gain more visibility on this issue, the directive is the first general officer in the chain of command from the day there was a report of sexual assault. it serves as a check list, and is supervised by a senior commander. elimination is a top priority in
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the personal leadership and commitment are making a difference. i truly believe we are making a positive change in the culture of our court. i believe the response system panel and the judicial proceedings panel established in 2013 provide an opportunity to analyze future reforms, and we look forward to participating. again, i think you for the opportunity to testify here today and i welcome your questions. >> members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to appear today. i would like to thank the assault survivors and i appreciate their courage in standing up and speaking out.
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it has been my honored to serve with him over the past 33.5 years and during that time i am no stranger to culture change. integrating women with the service report and also managing the don't ask and don't tell. the common denominator has been an unequivocal commitment to mission success and the welfare of the men and women in uniform. i want to say that the department recognizes that sexual assault is a terrible crime and more needs to be done in combating it. it is a national problem in our
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society. but we in the military must hold ourselves to a higher standard. sexual assault has no place in my army or military. it is an affront to the values. it is unacceptable that 19,000 men and women and service members in 2010 are estimated to have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact. this is based on feedback from the active-duty force. that same year, just over 2600 victims of sexual assault, had a difficult start of making an official report of these crimes, ranging from rape to abuse of sexual conduct. this prevents victims from receiving the care that they need and that limits our ability to investigate these crimes and hold offenders accountable.
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this demonstrates that sexual assault is an issue. there is no silver bullet solution. reducing and limiting sexual assault colliers a multi-pronged approach, one that requires initiatives and engages every service member to prevent this from occurring in the first place. but when one does occur, expert people are in place to ensure the delivery of justice. underpinning all of our efforts requires leaders that all levels to foster care and not condone or noren these things. a climate with dignity and respect our core values. the victims report is taken
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seriously. making sure the issues are treated with sensitivity and where officer education and training occur across the force and we are getting positive feedback from us. my answer with some of my experiences growing up in the army, spanning the past five decades. i believe that we will know that the change has occurred one prevention of assault has been scrutinized as the prevention of friendly fire. we want a change has occurred one derogatory language produce the same defensive reaction is hearing a racist slur. we are not there yet, but we are heading in the right direction. we need to remain persistent in moving this forward.
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we have prevention, investigation, accountability, and accessibility. all five are in my record. i will conclude my oral statement with a few personal observations. we can turn this around. but it will take time. it will also take continued emphasis on all five lines of effort. culture change starts at the top. i have seen in my nine months unprecedented senior attention and energy. right now focused on this energy from top to bottom across the force. with quality training and strong leadership. i began my remarks by stating that actual salt is a national problem. i will conclude by saying that
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it is my view that the department of defense can and must be a leader in solving this problem for america. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you all. >> even statements from nancy parrish, and from this, there is no objection. i would like like to turn the proceedings over to chairman levin. >> madam chairman, thank you for your leadership and holding this hearing. to all of those who have joined in this effort. it is a major effort, a huge initiative. it is vitally important. first of all, i would like to thank you. i wrote you a letter asking with
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a legislative history. in the day he responded with your own letter. including in that letter is a lengthy legislative history. i just have a question for mr. taylor. the legislative history provides that the authority under article 60 dates back to the articles of war adopted by the continental congress in 1775. at that time that that authority was established, a service member convicted by military court-martial had the ability to appeal conviction to a higher military court.
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>> given that a service member can now appeal the conviction at the court of criminal appeals in nt united states court of appeals, is there any reason now to allow convenient authorities to overturn court-martial conviction on the basis of legal errors of trial? to there has been many developments since 1775 to get us to where we are today. the robust appellate procedures provided by today's uniform code of military justice raises a very serious question about
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whether the authority provided by article 16, which was most recently dealt with by the congress in 1983. whether the authority of the commander is required or would continue to serve a vital purpose, we are going to look into that with a very open mind. but the change in this overtime is designed to protect the accused and makes this a very different question than existed in 1775. >> thank you. i want to thank all of our
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witnesses. thank you, madam chairman, for the leadership here and the others who are with you. i think my colleagues in you for allowing me just a few minutes of time. >> thank you. >> thank you. i am now going to allow senator graham to ask questions. >> thank you, madam chairman. i will try to be as quick as possible. thank you for holding the hearing. statistics in regards to the finding, you gave us the status or 2010 until 2012. there were 1768 special court-martial is and the seven cases out of those, the convening authority took action
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and that is .4%. does that sound right, general? >> yes, it does. in the last few years, we disapproved findings with 1.1% of cases. five of the 40 or sexual assault cases or does that sound right? >> yes, sir, that is correct. the navy does not have a tracking system for article 60 disposition. but you will get one, won't you? >> okay, good. that you had been able to collect evidence from those involved. what we have is one known case to disprove the findings. that one case was a sexual assault case.
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in the army, since 2008, there have been 4603 cases that went to court martial in 60 cases. this approves the findings of 1.4%. does that sound right? >> it does, senator. >> okay, the reason that i bring it up is that i want to make sure that people understand that one case has to be in terms of the whole system. the convening authority is out what rank, usually? >> that would be 2009, the usual rank. it would normally be 2006. >> what about the army? >> it was typically in 2008 or
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2000 night, special court 06. >> it is the authority that is a one or a two star. >> greenport? >> one and two and three-star general, sir. >> army? >> go ahead. >> i apologize. i should have prepared for the. >> good for you. to answer the question, they can range from a 03 lieutenant 206. so if there is a case generated at a local squadron, the person
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has a term of command. is that correct? >> .biz grokked. >> i just want them to understand that involving the case of rape or sexual assault is a distance away from the unit in question. just from the way the system works. the history of article 60, and a civilian communicant may wonder why there's a this a convening authority have the ability to set aside a punishment. well, you do have a robust appeal system. the accused has the right to appeal all the way to the supreme court if necessary to correct legal error. but we still have the convening authority and the decision-making role about
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setting aside findings. when you go back to the history, you do start with the continental army. general eisenhower testified to the house armed services committee before the predecessor to this and in his opinion, it is necessary that the person should have final action on court-martials. he proposed mitigating certain type of commanders to the judge advocate general. one who had another general who offered similar testimony. he believed that the commander must effectuate good order.
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so there are legal error problems that can be part of this. when it comes to this command, we have generally held the view that the one person that has the power to determine good order and discipline to make sure this is the military commander. he interview, can you give me an opinion as to whether the concept is still viable. and relevant in 2013? >> senator, if i could start. i think it is incredibly viable. i think it is why we have succeeded in the nations on complex over the course of 238 years. we have largely been successful. it is because we bring the best people. we give them the best training. third is we bring him the best
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equipment. the table wobbles and follows. command and control is an important element that ties all of those things together. the ability to exercise including every aspect of a soldier or sailor or marine corps individual's behavior is important. it was important in 1775, the reason that we stayed in the field and it is still important to him the army's point of view, do you concur? >> i would add that yes. in cases where we have set aside findings by the convening of this, it is typically where we have great results by doing so.
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it is a severe set of crimes. it was equivalent to nonjudicial punishment. we turned to a posttrial resignation to get the greater good. >> i want people to understand. >> that is correct, sir. >> does this command authority at resume in 2013? >> yes, the safety, welfare, good order and discipline of those under their charge, my experience has been that these decisions are taken to heart. they strive day in and day out do the right thing. they are advised by well qualified and trained legal counsel. having said that, military
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justice as showed lawyers at every stage of the process. we must look at article 60 again in light of those changes. being ever mindful of the effects of adjusting or restricting this. >> it is the navy's position that we should not have this power. >> no, sir. what about the marine corps? >> thank you for the opportunity to talk on this issue. everything that a command does or fails to do, they must have these types of authorities. responsible for the culture and it is their leadership we have to hold accountable.
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they have to be able to hold everyone in the unit accountable . >> thank you, senator. our units tend to be small as well and that is the embodiment of leadership and discipline within those small units. i concur with my calling. i would add that we have also reviewed our past court-martial practice to determine if a commander is ever overturned in the last four years. a charge specification involving sexual assault. there have been three instances where a specification by part of finding was overturned. that was always on the advice of the judge advocate. >> what i will do to wrap up
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quickly, i think that the hearing today shows the need for the congress to be involved. i think that these programs do you are coming up with have a great possibility to pay dividends. but it is a cultural problem and has to be changed. there has been a long-standing tradition in the military of allowing the commanders this authority. general hardin, i would like in private for you to offer to brief the members of the committee. it is quite an interesting case. i would just ask every member of the committee to spend some time, if you could, being briefed about the facts of this particular case. as to the climate in the military, they can come forward and clearly this has to be addressed. i just want to thank you, madam chairman, for bringing this up to the nation's attention in the
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committee's attention and i look forward to finding a way to continue the progress that seems to have been made. >> thank you. i am extremely disturbed based on the last round of questions and answers that each of you believes that the convening authority is what maintains discipline and order within your ranks. if that was your view, i don't know how you can say having this each year -- i don't understand how you can say that of the 19,000 cases, to only have approximately 2400 reported, because the victims tell us that they are afraid to report because of retaliation and the scorn they will get from their colleagues, really cannot understand how 2400 cases -- only 240 go to trial. how it can be resolved that you believe that authority is giving
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you discipline. it is the exact opposite of discipline and order. i am very grateful for all of the changes that have been made. each of you gave opening testimony that was very strong and thoughtful about the kinds of changes that have been made. and i appreciate that there is a zero tolerance policy. i appreciate the training that you have given your lawyers and prosecutors and their advocates. but if the convening authority is the only decision-maker of whether a case goes to trial and the only decision-maker about whether to overturn a case, all of that training and the excellent lawyers and prosecutors -- it doesn't make a difference. because the person with the authority is not the one who has the years of training in terms
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of legal ability and prosecutorial discretion and the understanding of the nature of something that is a violent crime. it is not ask her when she is sober. that's not when this issue is about. i would appreciate the work you're doing. i really do. but it is not enough. if you think you are achieving discipline and order with your current convening authority framework, i am sorry to say that you are wrong. every victim that has come in front of this committee and every story we have heard shows that we have not even begun to address this problem. so, let's talk about this case. do you think justice was done in the case of this? >> i think the authority made independent determination. that was the obligation of given
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to him by the body. granted, it was 65 years ago. but he could build a statutory obligation. and he did so with integrity. >> do think that the five senior offer sirs did not do justice? >> i cannot say they did not, ma'am. i think the jury did their duty. >> in one instance, justice was not done. which instance do you believe justice was not done? >> i cannot say. i am not going to conclude that justice was or was not done. what i will conclude is that all parties did their job for my review. they did what they were asked to do. >> one of the parties was wrong. if you are the victim in that case, i can assure you that
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justice was not done. i would like to move towards questions concerning how to evaluate a stronger system i'm very concerned about the message received as a result of the case. to back up just a little bit, each of the people at this table gave a response to senator graham's question whether there
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is a continuing value to the authority provided to drought findings to reject findings as senator levin indicated, there is a very robust system of appellate rights that are available to protect the accusers. we have to reconsider there needs to be further guidance on how article 60 is to be employed. the secretary has charged me to take a thorough and open and
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searching look into the continued need for article 60 as it exists today. to make sure that we don't do damage with order and discipline there is something that seems odd about the power to reject findings of some major obvious problems. i am concerned by the message that is received. i think that we have to redouble our efforts to make sure that
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victims are willing to come forward. that they are willing to entrust the military justice system. i think that we need to redouble our efforts to ensure that victims feel supported. and respected and honored for the service they are doing by coming forward. >> i have many other questions that i was meant for the record for each of you. next we have senator blumenthal. >> thank you.
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>> let me begin by saying that you have all given very thoughtful and informed answers. and if i may say, very lawyer like answers. which is to say it cautious and careful. this issue really demands my mission was to protect the ied that continues to cause more than half.
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we have some still without problem more effectively with a combination of body armor or better equipment to detect them. it looks like the end of the coat hanger, which they use, very effectively to detect roadside bombs. because they couldn't wait. this problem is the equivalent of an ied in every unit of every armed forces. it is the equivalent of an immensely destructive force much
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like going off in iraq or afghanistan would be. especially with the best and the brightest and bravest that you now have. all of those elements are necessary. the people are making their greatest efforts in the military. as i said this morning, i don't know how many of you are part of this. i truly believe that we have the best and brightest now. and the next greatest generation in the military. we need to attract and retain us. it is why this will be the equivalent of an ied for
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effective forces. my view is we need to do more than tinkering around the edges of the system. and we need to do it with reform right away including the power to overturn a conviction her conviction and even if we were to remove that, in my view, it would not really deal with some of the systematic shortcomings of the system. one of those shortcomings as a lack of sufficient resources. you need evidence. that is conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. which is by no means an easy
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standard. we have an obligation to assist you in dealing with this issue by helping to reform the system. so i would like to begin by asking you, mr. taylor, you have the panel. you have various ideas. you said you'd are considering them. what is your timeframe? >> the secretary has directed me to providing culinary assessments of the need for change in article 60. and the nature of any such changes.
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the panel is necessarily on a longer timeframe. it is mandated by the 2013 and the aa. members of the panel are appointed by the chairmen and ranking member of the senate armed services committee and the house armed services committee and it will be subject to certain regulations, i believe. it is a much more extended time frame. so we will do an internal effort and then there will be an external panel effort.
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>> yes, it is. that would be up to the secretary. >> well, i would like to make a request on my behalf. others may join in asking that it be made available on march 28 border soon thereafter as soon as possible. i know i don't have authority to issue subpoenas as i did when i was a prosecutor. but i hope that the secretary of defense will share the sense of urgency in moving forward as quickly as possible. you have been asked about the rates that convictions are overturned. you do you have any numbers on the rates of conviction, where courts martial are convened on sexual assault cases? >> i believe that each of the service provides that answer.
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>> why are the rates of conviction so low? >> the rates of conviction -- well, unfortunately, sexual assault can be a difficult charge to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. i think many of the efforts that you heard about the professionalism and resources available for sexual assault
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cases, the creation of special victims prosecutors are not capability. the increased support to victims may result in improved -- >> my time has expired i thank you for your extraordinary service to our nation. none of this is personal to you or the military, and as i hope you understand. i firmly believe that you will solve this problem because you have been so effective at solving similar issues otherwise military in our history and we
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thank you for your service. >> senator? >> thank you, madam chair. thank you to all of the test of dyersburg we heard from witnesses this morning and i'm sure that you may have been in the audience where they describe going through reporting sexual assault. do you know whether that is working? you ask the victims, survivors whether the programs are working?
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we also have informal mechanisms of hearing from them and other people it has been in effect if they are encouraged by the programs put in place we also have positive feedback on the training that has been revamped.
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in this scenario driven, there are many discussions, videos that are presented, decision scenarios that are presented. i have been a part of training at different levels. and we are getting good feedback on us. interest and awareness and education especially for going to make this an enduring change. >> i would say that that is a decision to prosecute and investigate going through the chain of command and going to an impartial kind of adjudicatory
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system and decision-making to use used the major problems of going that route? >> i will answer it first. speaking from a command perspective on this. my point of view would be the we want commanders involved in the process. we want them paying attention to victims and we talked them taking reports seriously and paying attention to crimes and other acts of discipline and harassment.
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we want commanders doing now. i will take that as my ultimate responsibility and i take it very seriously. many are taking that same responsibility. as a commander, it is committing a crime against another human being. we need human commanders very involved in the. >> they should be involved.
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that is the same thing that we are confronted with. >> at this point, i have visited my counterparts that on the system in the uk and canada and in australia. i have visited every one of the judge advocates. >> they are not comparable to the size and frequency of military forces, not independent of the chain of command, not independent of adjudicative authority, but under the protection and control focus. >> that is just it.
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thousands are being assaulted according to information from the pentagon. this continues and i would say that we need to acknowledge this. i do commend all of you for the work you are doing to address what is a large issue. it comes down to he said she said. and i have some experience. changing a lot in hawaii when the law allowed for the victims and the survivors to be re-victimized.
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and the actual underlying law and the authority probably needs to be addressed. do you think that we have a robust appellate process available to the defendants in the military? that perhaps this kind of an ultimate authority to overturn a decision should not rest in one person's hands? person who may not have legal training. these are legal results, in my view, anyone who is going to overturn this should have a legal background. that is not the case. it just says to me that we can eliminate this particular part
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of the convening authority. >> yes, ma'am. we will take a very hard look at that we are directed by the secretary to do so. >> thank you, my time has expired. >> we also have a deadline set. so we have one week. >> thank you, madam chair. i want to thank the witnesses for being here. it is very important.
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we have to address this issue. it is undermining, as you mentioned, our readiness and it is not consistent with the greatest military on that. so i want to ask about a report that was issued in january. the gao found that military health care providers don't have a consistent understanding of the responsibilities in curing for sexual assault victims including guidance for the treatment of injuries stemming from sexual assault. and that there are pacific sets of care if someone is a bit template steps that have to be taken to protect confidentiality and also steps that need to be taken to preserve evidence, only
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three minor protecting him. where are we in light of this report do you have any established items from dod for the treatment of injuries that could be transmitted to medical providers so that they properly treat victims of sexual assault in the military? >> senator, i believe that general patton would be a better person to answer this question. >> general? >> yes, ma'am. we have the standing department and it is very close to being reissued with a revised instruction. provides instruction, expect that to be out by the end of this month. it addresses in detail some of the inconsistencies that were found in the report. i have personally looked at the
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enclosures and have brought them with me here. but these are enclosed in the revised instruction. the policy that will be promulgated and which will address specific points that you were mentioning. victims and survivors and how they are to be dealt with confidentiality with regard to other procedures. in the examinations must be given. this is a gap between unrestricted care and and those points are specifically
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addressed, which has the interagency coordination which i expect to promulgate the next couple weeks. policy is only good for the paper it is on. there has to be training based on the policy and in the medical community. they are focused on addressing the point and ensuring that those changes are put into action as soon as possible. >> in formulating the policy, before being in the senate i was an attorney general. in my state there was specific guidance issued from the attorney general's office after
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having brought together stakeholders, including all stakeholders to make sure they weren't appropriate and that this was just not something that was the top down, but it came from really getting the stakeholders involved in it. making sure that they are right. whether this process involved, who did you consult, and there are very good models for this in the civilian sector. i wondered if you consult with any of those? >> it was a very collaborative process. the health affairs staff was involved and we do confer with the experts in the field.
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i know one of the women on my staff has been involved in victim advocacy and has been working side by side with victim advocacy for most of their adult life. another involved was the response coordinator for the air force. and has a lot of hands-on experience in dealing with victims and getting them through. not only that, but medical system as well. i have made a comparative look between the report and what we have in our revised view. i believe it does cover all of those areas.
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>> when will this be issued? also, what are the implementation plans. one of the biggest issues that we heard this morning from the panel was the culture issue. >> we expect to have the policy back from the management office. and promulgated by the end of this month. that is the first step. in this case, a medical component. i would expect that the surgeon general will reinforce the guidance on those aspects of the
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policy. education programs than have to be based on this. they know the new standards of performance in terms of medical practice and kerry for all type of survivors. last, there is an assessment. >> doctor woodson, he has a plan. ..